Content about simulation


America’s favorite cartoon family returns to the exciting world of iOS platform games with The Simpsons: Tapped Out on the iPad available for download from Apple’s App Store. The video game takes the best parts of games like the Sims and SimCity and combines them with a social gaming aspect designed to reward its players and keep them coming back for more. Sprinkle the signature Simpsons’ humor on top and you have a interesting experience resembling that of Homer’s favorite sweet treat. 


A couple of months ago, an event took place in Colorado called Pinball Showdown, allowing pinball fans and makers of all ages to get together and celebrate the arcade format the only way they know how – through a celebration of flippers.  Various manufacturers attended the event, including Gary Stern, of Stern Pinball fame.  He was there to show off the company’s latest accomplishment for arcades, a pinball featuring the appearance and music of popular rock band AC/DC.


A couple of months ago in Denver, Colorado, an event called the Pinball Showdown was held, and pinball makers and fans of all types got together to celebrate the machines of old, as well as new ones coming from manufacturers.  Along with Stern’s AC/DC pinball machine (and the recently announced X-Men), Jersey Jack Pinball brought details on its debut effort, one based on the cinematic classic The Wizard of Oz.  We managed to talk with the founder of the company, “Jersey Jack” himself, Jack Guarnieri, about what to expect from the table.


Timothy Michael Wynn has scored music in the video game industry since 2005. He has worked on known game franchises like Command & Conquer, Warhawk and Red Faction. You might have heard his work on CW’s Supernatural. His best work was in Warhawk as gave its vibrant atmosphere that suit it’s military theme. It’s Wynn’s behind the scenes work that helped make the game stand out from the rest, but do fans notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?


Trying to invigorate a game genre that’s gone to its point of extent is a tricky move.  On the one hand, you create a worthwhile game experience that’s bound to attract some kind of audience.  On the other, it’s not always guaranteed to work.  With that, we have Zivix’s JAM Live Music Arcade, a game that takes an assortment of rock tunes and lets you mix them however you please, provided you’re ready to switch between various instrument tracks.  At first, it definitely shows signs of innovations, but it’s when you’re trying to go to the next level with the game that it really shows how flawed a rock experience it is.


A year and a half ago, Zen Studios once again upped the ante on its virtual pinball creations with the release of Marvel Pinball, a collection of four tables based on popular superheroes, featuring both a solid table design and characters that would jump around, as if they were leaping right off the comic book pages.  Now, after what seemed like months in the waiting, Marvel Pinball has finally made its way to 3DS, and while there may be a slight question regarding table selection, there’s no doubt you’ll find plenty of pinball fun to be had here.


Konami had a pretty killer show this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.  Though Castlevania: Lords of Shadow II was present in video form only, it did have plenty of other playable games to offer, including the Lords of Shadow spin-off Mirror of Fate for 3DS, Zone of the Enders HD Collection, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and Frogger Pinball.  But in the middle of all this was its next soccer champion, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, or PES 2013 for short.


All aboard the hype train for NBA 2K13.  2K Sports' latest basketball simulation is just over three months from release, set to arrive on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 4th (and on the Wii U when it arrives at retail), and promises a bunch of changes that will certainly make it the most realistic one that the company's released. And to help push the hype further, 2K has chosen a trifecta of current NBA superstars to grace the cover, a step forward from the solo cover stars that graced it previously.  Surprisingly enough, currently crowned NBA champ LeBron James nor series favorite Kobe Bryant are amongst the three stars.


Zen Studios can’t really do any wrong when it comes to their Marvel Pinball table designs.  Seriously.  Someone could tell them to do a legitimate Howard the Duck table (one not based on the movie) and they’d have it ready to go in a matter of months, complete with wisecracks and awesome skill shots.  Over the past year and a half they’ve knocked out some winners, but nothing compared to what we’ve seen with the Avengers Chronicles pack.  This is clearly their best work to date – and hopefully not their last in the deal.


Early this year, Bioware’s Mass Effect saga came to five year run. Rest aside the ending; the series is one of the most complete trilogies in video game history. There are two aspects that Mass Effect nails perfectly. The series was first to interweave choices all the way through the third and final installment captivating fans from start to finish. However, you can’t tell a great story if you forget to create the atmosphere for your game to breath in. The music in the game really doses shape Commander Shepard with it having one of the best scores in gaming, but do people notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?


Since its release over the past few months on both mobile platforms and consoles, The Pinball Arcade has become a popular release with both pinball fans and newcomers alike, as the development team at Farsight Studios has managed to perfectly recreate some of the more popular tables out there for digital play, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and most recently, Funhouse and Bride of Pin-bot, which are coming to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network next month.


When Minecraft was announced last year for Xbox 360, a lot of folks figured it wasn’t a surprise, since Microsoft is all about lining up exclusive fare for owners of its console.  But, still, isn’t it more at home on a PC?  Could the experience possibly be ported over to Xbox Live Arcade and keep its awesome resourcing system intact?  Well, after a long time in development, the game arrived this week on the Marketplace and answered that question with a well-deserved “yes”.


It’s long been a figure of our imagination to create things to our liking. From stacking countless Lego bricks to make your own personal metropolis, to digital animation used today; or you could choose to avoid the building process entirely and become an el presidente and terrorize the citizens of Tropico Island. The options are up to you for what you want to create.


The Pinball Arcade has now pretty much released across every major platform that Farsight Studios intended to release it for.  Though it’s taken a while to get here, the wait has been worth it, as the four initial tables – with more to come – offer plenty of authentic pinball fun.  The PlayStation Vita version is no exception, as it’s one of the best versions you can get out there.


Over the weekend at PAX East, we had the opportunity to talk with several folks about upcoming projects.  Among them was Zen Studios, a company that didn’t have a booth on the floor, but still had some exciting details about what was coming down the line in the future in terms of pinball content.  While we can’t reveal everything JUST yet (they’re saving some surprises for E3), we can talk about Zen Pinball 2, an improved pinball experience coming for the PlayStation 3 – and PlayStation Vita – starting next month.


Digital pinball is in a bit of an upswing as of late, thanks to the folks at Zen Studios, who continue to make quality tables for both Pinball FX 2 and Zen Pinball.  And they aren’t done yet, as four new Avengers-themed tables will be available next month.  But in the meantime, let’s not count out Farsight Studios, the makers of the Pinball Hall of Fame games.  Like Zen, they have the art of a digitally created table nailed down, except they actually recreate tables that once existed.  Not an easy feat, I’m sure.  But they continue to do everything right with their latest release, The Pinball Arcade.


Driving simulators have long been a staple of the video game industry. New iterations and tech advancements have helped us get closer to the track and live and breathe the cars we drive in. The Test Drive series has been around, but it as been an open world drive from the very beginning. This new installment named, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing legends is developed by Slight Mad Studios, who are the original developers on the Need For Speed: Shift series. I recently got a chance to talk to Suzy Wallace, the producer at Slightly Mad Studios and got inside info on the game and what the future holds for the series.


Over time, unused programs clogged my memory and slowed down my computer considerably. I currently run windows vista on my Mac Pro, which is stacked with 8 gigs of ram and two Radeon graphic cards. I love my current set up, but I haven’t been able to get everything out my system that I would of hoped for. So where is the answer, how can I finally dethrone this problem and finally rage against the machine? The answer is simple with the latest software from iolo technologies called System Mechanic 10.7.


I know Pierre already has his thoughts posted on FIFA Street, but I felt compelled to follow up with a counterpoint.  After all, EA Sports’ arcade revival is a pretty big deal, especially in the face of FIFA Soccer 12, which is essentially a perfected version of the sport digitally, right down to the league options and style of play on the field.  FIFA Street is an opposite to that, relying on a more trick-laden fast-paced style where the yellow and red cards don’t apply, and it’s all about getting the ball in the goal.  That should be good enough, right?  So why isn’t it?


For the past couple of years, 2K Sports has literally dominated the paint with its NBA 2K series, starting with teaming up with Michael Jordan for NBA 2K11 and eventually other legends in NBA 2K12.  But now, EA Sports, a company that’s been out of the simulation basketball game since it scuttled its NBA Elite 11 project, is about to hit the hard court once again with the recently announced NBA Live 13.  The real question is, does it stand a chance?


When it comes to basketball simulation games as of late, users have only had one real genuine choice -- NBA 2K.  Granted, there's nothing wrong with 2K Sports' basketball series, as it practically nails everything that the sport is supposed to be about in every way possible.  But we do miss the feeling of competition.  See, at one point, EA Sports was working on a contender with its NBA Live series, but then something happened, and it vanished.  But don't be too alarmed, folks.  The folks at EA are primed for a comeback.


NBA 2K12 has been roaring up the basketball charts over the past few months, mainly due to the lack of a (direct) competitor.  But it's still one hell of a sim, and players everywhere have been dunking and raining three's, even if it's without New York Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin.  (But, yeah, we know you play as him sometime.  Admit it.)  Now the madness is set to continue next month, as Best Buy has announced a new edition that will be sold exclusively through them.